Democratic AG Candidates Bash NYC Bill Capping Ride-Hailing Licenses

uber new york
A ride hailing vehicle in Manhattan. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The four Democratic candidates for New York attorney general discussed the recently-signed bill that puts a cap on Uber and other ride-hailing licenses at a forum on technology Tuesday night hosted by Axios, Tech:NYC and WeWork.

“Yellow taxis don’t go to communities of color. They don’t pick up people of color. Uber, Lyft, address these issues,” New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said. “I’m against the way the city council went about their decision.”

Sean Patrick Maloney and Buffalo attorney Leecia Eve also blasted the bill that makes New York City the first U.S. city to regulate the growth of app-based rides.

Maloney called it a “bad idea” and Eve said “ride-sharing services provide critical services for New Yorkers.”

However, Fordham University law professor and liberal activist Zephyr Teachout refused to define her stance on the issue.

“I think what the people of New York want to know is what I’ll address as attorney general,” Teachout said. “I’m anti-corruption, I’m against big money in politics, I think the tech industry is very concentrated and that can pose a problem.”

The four candidates also targeted President Donald Trump, discussing the importance of using the attorney general’s office to make the Republican president accountable. They also went over various ways to obtain his tax returns.

Maloney pledged to release the last five years of his tax returns “to lead by example.” He also said he would “foster and advance wealth creation in the tech industry.”

In wrapping up, the candidates were asked about any criticism of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“He has a huge personality and he’s very peculiar,” James said. “But he’s supporting me because he knows Letitia James gets things done and has gotten things done for 20 years.

Teachout, who made a surprisingly strong challenge to Cuomo in 2014, criticized the governor’s decision to close the Moreland Commission, which he formed in 2013 to investigate public corruption, but then abruptly shut it down in 2014.

“I think there’s a radical level of inequality in our state that flows from corruption,” Teachout said. “I also think the next attorney general needs to be very clear that she is independent from the governor and will call him out when he does something he shouldn’t.”

The primary winner will face Republican attorney Keith Wofford.

Acting Attorney General Barbara Underwood isn’t running for the seat, formerly held by Democrat Eric Schneiderman, who resigned after domestic-abuse allegations, which he denies.